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NEWS | Dec. 15, 2020

Civil Support Teams Compete in Missouri

By Spc. Quinton Ryerson Missouri National Guard

The Missouri National Guard Civil Support Team (CST), Kansas National Guard CST, Oklahoma National Guard CST and Indiana National Guard CST participated in a competition Oct. 25-29 at the Jefferson City Fire Department Training Site, the Central Missouri Events Center and the Missouri National Guard Armory in Columbia, Mo.
Each CST faced the same two training scenarios conducted on separate days. The team that performed the best throughout both scenarios won the competition and received a trophy.
“Every state has a team like this,” said Major Lance Fowler, another member of the 73rd Civil Support Team. “We are a hazardous materials (HAZMAT) team for the Army National Guard. We bring a lot of equipment that our in-state partners may not have.”
The first scenario consisted of a chemical threat that needed to be sampled by a team wearing HAZMAT suits. Two soldiers went into a structure, checked all areas for signs of contamination and carefully sampled the object that was contaminated. Afterward these soldiers were decontaminated at a station set up directly outside the building in which they were working.
After decontamination, no further action was needed if the team performed their task correctly. If something went wrong during this process, another HAZMAT team was sent in to finish sampling the object. This ensured each CST could learn from the mistakes they may have made during the training scenario.
The second and final training scenario involved a biological threat the teams were directed to assess and sample. This scenario ran similarly to the first scenario, however, the decontamination was different this time. The HAZMAT suit was wiped down externally, carefully removed and then disposed of instead of being decontaminated.
The soldiers said there is a sense of unity between each team. After all, they all have the same job, wear the same uniforms, and have the same determination to protect, serve and render aid to local partners and law enforcement agencies.
“The Civil Support Team maintains a high level readiness,” said Lt. Col. Todd Loughney. “We can be called at any time and we are always ready at any time.”